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Safety Initiatives in Bangladesh

Last Updated: 2015.10.30
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Bangladesh Initial Fire and Building Safety Inspections Results: 6-months Status Update (October 30rd 2015)

Continuing to be fully engaged in raising the safety standards in Bangladesh's garment factories, Fast Retailing's progress updates are as follows:

Fast Retailing's independent inspections

1. Fire safety inspections

Fast Retailing initiated an independent Fire Safety Audit through a third party in May 2013. A follow-up audit was done in December 2013 and found that many of the recommended improvements had been implemented. As of October 2015, of the 550 initial findings, all items independent of Accord assessment criteria are now resolved.

2. Building safety inspections

In September 2013, Fast Retailing initiated an in-depth building inspection by an experienced Japanese inspection company. No major structural problems threatening a collapse were identified in the inspection report. As of October 2015, of the 84 originally highlighted issues, all items independent of Accord assessment criteria are now resolved.

Fast Retailing continues to track progress and work along Accord assessment criteria to improve on the remainder of the findings. All future updates regarding these last remaining items will now be consolidated and communicated through Accord-related updates.

Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh:

In August 2013, Fast Retailing signed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, which commits to safeguard garment workers against building collapse and fire.

As of April 2015, 100% of Fast Retailing partner factories have all completed Accord sanctioned inspections. As of October 2015, 100% of FR partner factories have all submitted their Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) and 64 % of partner factories have undergone their second inspections. To date more than 40% of total findings have been corrected from the ACCORD issues CAP.

In the remaining 30-months as a signatory of the Bangladesh Accord, Fast Retailing will continue to drive improvements in our partner factories and work towards closing 100% of all open items in the factory's CAPs. As a dictate of the Accord, FR will also work towards ensuring that Occupational Health and Safety Committees (OSH) are established at partner factories. These committees are a vital mechanism of sustaining progress and preventing future safety concerns at factory level.

Bangladesh continues to be an important production market for the Fast Retailing group. Fast Retailing is committed to working towards lasting improvements in the Bangladesh garment industry that go beyond conventional monitoring and inspections. We continue to work proactively as a signatory of the Bangladesh Accord and drive changes through the joint efforts of our peer brands, who share our dedication to ensure a safe working environment for the Bangladesh garment workers. All future updates related to the remediation of open Accord items and the establishment of OSH Committees will henceforth be communicated via the official website of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (http://bangladeshaccord.org/)

Results of Initial Investigation into Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (April 23rd, 2015)

April 24 marks two years since the tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh, taking the lives of over one thousand people. Fast Retailing did not have any production at Rana Plaza. However, as a company that produces in Bangladesh, we are committed to ensuring the safety of those who make our products and to safeguarding the sustainability of the country's thriving garment industry. Progress on Fast Retailing's safety initiatives in Bangladesh follow:

FR's independent inspections

1. Fire safety inspections

Fast Retailing initiated an independent Fire Safety Audit through a third party in May 2013. A follow-up audit was done in December 2013 and found that many of the recommended improvements had been implemented. 550 initial findings in the March 2014 inspections have been improved upon and as of April 2015, 52 issues remain. These relate to pending government policies and findings related to Accord* inspection criteria and remediation processes. Fast Retailing continues to track progress and improve on the remaining findings, where we have direct influence.
* Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh

2. Building safety inspections

In September 2013, Fast Retailing initiated an in-depth building inspection by an experienced Japanese inspection company. No major structural problems threatening a collapse were identified in the inspection report. Of the findings, our partner factories corrected 74 of the 84 highlighted. The ten open issues that remain are related to deeper structural assessments required due to inconsistencies in construction from the original building designs. Fast Retailing continues to track progress and work along Accord assessment criteria to improve on the remainder of the findings.

Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh:

In August 2013, Fast Retailing signed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, which commits to safeguard garment workers against building collapse and fire.

As of April 2015, Fast Retailing partner factories have all completed Accord sanctioned inspections. The factories are now working on the remediation of Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) advised by the Accord. Fast Retailing is tracking CAP progress with partner factories and coordinates regularly with the Accord, the factory, and industry peers. Fast Retailing continues to work closely with the Accord and promotes sustainable change for the Bangladesh garment sector.

Bangladesh continues to be an important production market for the Fast Retailing group. We are committed to working towards lasting improvements in the Bangladesh garment industry that go beyond conventional monitoring and inspections. We continue to work proactively as a signatory of the Bangladesh Accord and drive changes through the joint efforts of our peer brands, who share our dedication to ensure a safe working environment for the Bangladesh garment workers.

Results of Initial Investigation into Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (April 23rd, 2014)

On 24 April 2013, Rana Plaza, a commercial building, collapsed in the Savar sub-district near Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.

Though none of our partner factories were affected by the tragic incident, as a result of the collapse, Fast Retailing (FR) has strengthened measures to ensure fire and building safety at garment factories in the country. In addition to the regular monitoring of working environments at our partner factories, FR has conducted its own independent fire and safety inspections. FR also signed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh on 8 August 2013. The following is a report on the progress with the fire and building safety initiatives over the past year.

FR's independent inspections

FR has conducted independent fire and building safety inspections at partner factories.

1. Fire safety inspections

inspections of factory fire safety systemsAt FR's request, in May 2013 an independent auditing firm conducted unannounced inspections of factory fire safety systems, including verification of certificates and fire-fighting equipment.
FR also requested that all partner factories submit reports and plans to improve safety standards for emergency exits, verification of evacuation routes, management of power lines, evacuation planning, fire safety equipment, and licensing documentation. Items requiring immediate attention were to be dealt with within one month, and all remaining items requiring improvement within three months.
In December 2013, follow-up inspections were conducted to confirm improvements - the number of points for improvement dropped to 351 from 551, from the initial inspections.
As of the end of March 2014, FR further confirmed improvements on 190 findings, out of 351, by factory visits and factory reporting. We will continue to track progress, and improve on the remaining findings.

seminars and training to improve fire safety standardsIn addition to the independent inspections, FR held seminars and training to improve fire safety standards. In January and September 2013, FR hosted lectures and workshops, partnering with fire and safety professionals, covering a wide range of issues on fire and electrical safety and management systems. We plan to continue these.

safety inspections2. Building safety inspections

In September 2013, FR initiated building safety inspections by an experienced Japanese inspection agency, assessing structural soundness - including inspections of walls and building diagrams, as well as concrete strength tests and measurement of column tilt measurements. Based on the results, maintenance advice was provided. No structural problems that could lead to a collapse have been identified, assuming operations continue as at the time of the inspection. FR plans to accelerate inspections, to ensure safe working environments by providing technical assistance, in partnership with outside professionals.

Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh

On 8 August 2013, FR signed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, which commits to safeguard garment workers against building collapse and fire. More than 150 brands, international NGOs, and International Labor Organization (ILO) have joined.

Since February 2014, inspections have been conducted by 38 teams, consisting of international experts on fire, electrical and building safety. Inspections are planned for about 1500 factories and remediation measures, and training will further improve working environments. FR is committed to ensuring safety and improving working environments across the entire garment industry, by participating in this initiative and collaborating with its multiple stakeholders.

History

November 2012Factory fire in the Ashulia industrial area (Partner factories of FR Group companies were unaffected)
January 2013First series of fire prevention seminars conducted at partner factories
April 2013Rana Plaza building collapse in the Savar sub-district (Partner factories of FR Group companies were unaffected)
May 2013Specialized auditing firm engaged to conduct fire and building safety inspections
August 2013Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh signed by FR
September 2013Japanese inspection agency employed to conduct building safety inspections at partner companies
September 2013Second series of fire prevention seminars and training exercises conducted at partner factories
December 2013Specialized auditing firm employed to conduct fire and building safety inspections (follow-up)
March 2014FR Group CSR Department members visited factories and check the corrective action progress.
March 2014Building safety inspections at partner companies by the Japanese inspection agency completed

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